Activity-dependent changes in the intrinsic properties of cultured neurons

Science  13 May 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5161, pp. 974-977
DOI: 10.1126/science.8178157


Learning and memory arise through activity-dependent modifications of neural circuits. Although the activity dependence of synaptic efficacy has been studied extensively, less is known about how activity shapes the intrinsic electrical properties of neurons. Lobster stomatogastric ganglion neurons fire in bursts when receiving synaptic and modulatory input but fire tonically when pharmacologically isolated. Long-term isolation in culture changed their intrinsic activity from tonic firing to burst firing. Rhythmic stimulation reversed this transition through a mechanism that was mediated by a rise in intracellular calcium concentration. These data suggest that neurons regulate their conductances to maintain stable activity patterns and that the intrinsic properties of a neuron depend on its recent history of activation.

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